Associate (Harvard): Brian Le
Associate (Sydney): Chamara Liyanage & Scott Waddell
Asian economies have gone through major upheavals in the last few decades. With the emergence of transnational trade, reductions in trade barriers, and greater levels of investment in the region, Asian economies have seen high levels of rapid growth. Globalization has lifted millions of people out of poverty and provided greater opportunities for local Asian businesses through a large wealth of investors and financiers. This rise in globalization, however, also means an increase in the likelihood of volatile changes in currency and capital flow as Asia becomes more integrated with the rest of the world. Coupling this with a rise in technology, Asia has also seen a sizeable increase in income inequality. To complicate issues even further, protectionism from the West has been on a rise in the past few years and threaten the benefits of globalization. In this track, we will explore the current trends affecting Asian economies and see how business leaders and policymakers are dealing with the ever-changing issues.
1 – Globalization and Business Expansion
Economic trends around the world are constantly changing, but globalization continues to permeate in the modern age. In this panel, we attempt to explore important questions including: how is the global economy moving today? How should business leaders and policymakers respond to these global forces? How should they respond to globalization in expanding their businesses? Finally, how should leaders ensure equitable growth across income brackets, even if the growth is not equal?
2 – Maintaining a Successful Business in the Modern Age
Business leaders in the modern age face a formidable amount of change. While new technology provides the opportunity for increased productivity, shifting labor markets also mean that many laborers are lacking the skills needed in the modern age. This panel will explore how international companies strike the balance between needs and wants of different people, how current high-level business leaders have managed to succeed in the face of change, and what challenges and potential opportunities they foresee in the upcoming future for their companies.
Associate (Harvard): Faisal Younus
Associate (Sydney): Hermi Human & Vitalina Pischenko
Poverty, economic inequality, and lack of access to health insurance and financial services present tangible issues which can be resolved by resourceful entrepreneurs. However, one major issue, especially prevalent in the Southeast Asian region, is the lack of accessible funding for these projects. In this track, we explore major new areas for development across Asia and ways to capitalize on intersecting markets across the region while attracting investors. With startup culture encapsulating a major share of the entrepreneurship landscape across the world, we will categorize unique niches across Asia that can be addressed, and explore the solutions to these profound issues in our panels.
1 – The 3rd Wave: Emerging Technologies and Field Application
Steve Case, founder of AOL, details in “The Third Wave” that modern tech entrepreneurship presented itself in three waves. The first wave brought forward the internet, and with it the infrastructural network to bring the whole world online. The second focused on providing applications and services to leverage this network to the world at large. The third, supposedly beginning now, will boast a new form of entrepreneurship focused on solving the systemic issues affecting the world, ranging from resource scarcity to sectors such as health, transportation, and education, amongst others. The rise of AI, IoT, blockchain, and big data to name a few exciting new pathways also brings about the resultant rise of structural unemployment as technology will be leveraged for max-efficiency, driving new questions regarding our progress. With the extant significant developmental disparities across Asia, with cities such as Seoul boasting the world’s fastest and most accessible internet services, to poor cities with almost no technological integration across swathes of Asia, this inconsistency drives the ultimate question – how can novel tech be tapped into to find solutions to existing problems? How can these new innovations, such as AI, actually cause problems by “taking” jobs from society? How can Asia in particular, with the Global South dealing with rampant poverty, deal with such issues as technologically driven structural unemployment?
2 – Start-Ups – from VCs to Founders
Starting a company is an immensely challenging task – from developing a novel idea to searching for the necessary network of co-founders and talent to procuring the funding necessary to spearhead your venture, the task is an exhaustive process that requires immense time, utmost attention to detail, and invested energy into the projects. In this panel, we will focus on building a company from ideation to iteration and sensibility to scalability. This panel will also address the barriers in start-ups that are unique to the Asia-Pacific and creative solutions to overcome such barriers.
Associate (Harvard): Ryan Jiang
Associate (Sydney): Michelle Wang & Julian Vidal
In the middle of rapid economic, population, and social growth, Asia must confront its increasing demand for natural resources. Unfortunately, rapid growth has often been coupled with rampant environmental destruction; the first half of this decade has seen devastating land pollution, loss of arable land, massive overfishing problems, territorial disputes, energy conflicts, and water shortages. Asian governments, policymakers, scientists, and citizens must confront the myriad environmental difficulties to navigate complex solutions in order to achieve a sustainable and environmentally-friendly Asia.
Development in Asia must strike a balance with its environmental costs. Sustainable development encompasses a wide variety of issues, including complex sociological and scientific problems. For instance, Jevon’s Paradox – the phenomena that increased efficiency leads to increased consumption and therefore increased waste – has long haunted environmental approaches to development. How should policymakers, researchers, and citizens address these central issues, with effective and feasible solutions?
1 – Environmental Agency
One of the greatest difficulties in solving environmental problems is the free-rider and collective action problem. Though everyone believes that the environment should be protected, often times the inconveniences associated with environmental protection lead individuals to continue maladaptive practices. However, government practices can only take us so far – laws are difficult to enforce and have often proven ineffective. On the level of human and collective agency, how should we approach the problem of the environment? For each institutional level (individual, civil, and government), where do boundaries of effective actions lie? Finally, how should we combine these different levels of agency to tackle core environmental issues?
2 – Environmental Justice
Unfortunately, environmental issues do not affect all people equally; environmental degradation has taken its toll primarily on underprivileged and minority groups. In many developing Asian countries, poor segments of the population drink contaminated water, witness their food sources being stripped away by the cities, and experience unfavorable living conditions and massive pollution. This panel will explore the importance of highlighting the experiences of these marginalized groups, and how to achieve a sustainable future that’s just for all.
Associate (Harvard): Archie Hall
Associate (Sydney): Hermi Human & Julian Vidal
In an era of escalating tensions around the Asia-Pacific region, the twin tools of Security and Diplomacy are becoming more important than ever. This panel will examine what the trends in the region are likely to be, and also the tools that leaders, citizens and policymakers have to navigate this future. The issues that will be discussed are wide-ranging, from China’s expansion in the South China Sea to Trump’s sabre-rattling with North Korea to the continued evolution of Indian foreign policy under Narendra Modi. Importantly, though, these issues are interlocked; a view of security and diplomacy that does not take account of the fundamental connectedness of modern geopolitical systems is likely to be an unsuccessful one. The future that international politics has in store for the Asia-Pacific region is a fascinating and complex one that this panel will seek to understand.
1 – Hard Power
Although the era of state-to-state wars in Asia seems to be in the past, the importance of developments ranging from North Korean nuclear testing to the potential remilitarization of Japan is substantial. How has the connectedness of the modern political landscape shaped issues of militarization? What is the role of coercive economic measures in promoting national or transnational interests?
2 – Soft Power
Just as important as hard power is in the modern era, soft power –which refers to influence that comes from cultural and non-coercive economic dominance– also has tremendous influence in this age. In this panel, we explore pressing questions including: what does it mean for international diplomacy to live in a world where China’s control of global economic and cultural currents is greater than ever? How do culture and media influence international diplomacy?
Associate (Harvard): Michel Li
Associate (Sydney): Chamara Liyanage & Vitalina Pischenko
In the past few decades, Asia has become synonymous with economic growth. According to the Asian Development Bank, globalization, technological change, and market-oriented reform have contributed to Asian countries’ great economic growth and overall poverty reduction. However, this economic growth has facilitated rising income inequality in many countries. The causes of this economic growth and inequality – globalization, technological change, and market-oriented reform – are certainly difficult and likely detrimental to reverse or counteract. Asian countries have struggled with addressing its effects to varying degrees of success.
In this track, we will focus on the forms of inequality in Asia and how these inequalities have contributed to changes in the healthcare sector. We will begin by addressing substantive questions: How does inequality manifest itself socially, economically, and politically in Asian countries? How does this differ from non-Asian countries? What variation is there among Asian countries? These questions will provide context for exploring options for the future: How can institutions address such inequalities? What roles do different institutions have in crafting the most effective solution, in order to create an equal Asia?
1 – Labor Policy and Migration
Globalization, technology, and market-oriented reforms have created higher demands both on labor in Asia and labor in Asia. A person’s technical skill and ability to successfully participate in Asia’s increasingly competitive labor market determines much of his or her income and social status. Laborers with greater technical skill are in demand and benefit greatly from recent modernization and change. But during this transition, what about those workers who are left behind, whose skills are being replaced by capital? How are different institutions – both domestic and international – grappling with such issues? How can they be more effective in doing so? How do labor migration patterns fit into this environment?
2 – Disability
Asian countries have difficult times tracking and advocating on behalf of disabled persons. Because there is often a stigma surrounding disability in Asian countries, individuals often hesitate at identifying themselves and others as disabled; this makes it difficult for any sort of institution to understand and support this population. According to the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, 1 out of every 6 people in Asia and the Pacific has some sort of disability. Given aging, poor labor conditions, and other accidents, this number is projected to increase over the years. What economic and social barriers to physically and/or mentally handicapped individuals face in Asian countries? What are the next steps toward destigmatizing disability in Asia?
Associate (Harvard): Grace Pan
Associate (Sydney): Sally Choi & Scott Waddell
In the last few decades, political regime changes in Asian states have transformed the political tapestry from authoritarian to democratic or semi-democratic forms of government. With the progression of democratic governance, many Asian states have also ratified large quantities of international human rights conventions. Nevertheless, the region continues to be marred by cases of human rights violations and selective application of protective laws by the sitting governments. Presently, in 2017, the multitude of human rights abuses is rife — from regressive laws which violate LGBTQ right, to stifle freedom of expression; from religious persecution and continual implementation of capital punishment to the abuse of refugees and those seeking legal asylum in detention centers. In this Humanitarian Affairs track, we will explore, investigate, and begin to create solutions to equip leaders with the tools to repair injustices and advocate for human rights around the world.
1 – Balancing Governance and Human Rights: Social Welfare, Progress and Development
States often use their independent governance (sovereignty) to renege on human rights conventions which they have ratified. Governments are able to justify discriminatory behavior that violates international human rights conventions by claiming a right to effectively run their own states and a duty to protect their citizens. In light of this conflict, the social welfare, progress, and development of human rights have stagnated, and in some cases, regressed. Why are states struggling to successfully balance governance and human rights? What are viable solutions to ensure state governance and human rights are able to coexist effectively?
2 – Nationality, Statelessness, Asylum and Refugees
Today, at least 10 million people around the world are denied a nationality. Whether due to discrimination against particular ethnic or religious groups or the emergence of changes in borders, statelessness has serious consequences. Stateless people often struggle to acquire basic rights such as healthcare, education, employment and freedom of movement. Without these rights, it is easy for stateless people to lose dignity or hope. In this panel, we will explore the responsibilities of governments, human rights organizations, civil society groups, lawyers, and academics to work together to reduce statelessness and identify the status of stateless refugees.
Seminar 1: Cyber-caliphate: Terrorism, the Internet and the Future of War
Carl Ungerer | Head of the Leadership, Crisis and Conflict Management Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy
Since its inception, the internet has been used by terrorist groups to disseminate propaganda. But as the internet has evolved, it is being used as a tool for the online radicalisation of young people towards violence and hatred. Extremists now use interactive web forums and social media to entice new recruits and to conduct a propaganda war. In this workshop, delegates will examine the current drivers of this new ‘cybercaliphate’ and its policy implications for Asia. Following an introductory lecture, delegates will work in teams to design an innovative policy response to a real world case study.
Seminar 2: Holding Up Half the Sky: How are Women Changing International Affairs?
Alison Broinowski | Former Australian diplomat, author and journalist, fellow of the Australian Institute of International Affairs
Reports of the new influence of women in foreign ministries, international organisations, and NGOs suggest that they bring a different approach, perhaps one that is more principled, inclusive, and less driven by status and power, and less inclined to respond to foreign policy problems with aggression. In many countries’ foreign services, women are close to numerical equality with men, and gender programs unheard of in the past support them on assignments abroad. The importance of women in development is highlighted in UN development goals, and tangible progress is reported in most developing countries, where women are also prominent as aid deliverers.
But the world has not made equivalent progress towards peace, and those dealing with the existential dangers we face – climate change and its effects, and the likelihood of nuclear war – are predominantly men. If women’s influence is to be felt, it should be on these two issues.
In an opportunist response to terrorism, the foreign policies of the US, the UK and Australia, and of some other democracies, are increasingly militarised. Resources devoted to war-fighting and to the arms industry grow exponentially, while the budgets of foreign ministries are shrinking. When women stay, doing what they care about, and men go to better jobs elsewhere, is this evidence that women or men are changing international affairs?
Seminar 3: Case Analysis – Business and Ethical Dilemma
Jenik Radon | Adjunct Professor at the School of Public and International Affairs, Columbia University
An interactive exploration of the 2002-2003 Dartmouth MBA Application question. How should companies meet the demands of the local community in high stake situations? A look at the intricacies of mining operations in a developing dictatorship, and the questions of ethics and business.
Seminar 4: Development: Getting it Right
Ramit Singh | Founder of The RASICH Group
In this one-hour session, we will talk about the changing definitions of development over the years, and how we have still not been able to settle on one that is irrefutable. We will look at propagating a new definition of development and discuss its various components. Thus, using it as a tool for explaining alternative development concepts that are often ignored.
The session will thereafter move to a working group model where the participants will help brainstorm on a proposed model for the formation of a Research, Analysis and Delivery centre under the aegis of the United Nations.
The components that shall be discussed will include the formation and composition of this centre, the balance between sovereignty and actionable solutions from global bodies, and modes of ensuring participation and execution, for example through development indices, development councils, redressal mechanisms, and others.
The core focus of this session is on impressing upon delegates the need for micro-level planning, without imposing concepts of development that may not be relevant to the area/society that is being developed.
The real-life aids that will be used during the session will include anecdotes and examples from the North-East region of India as well as the country of Bhutan, which will help put the entire discussion in context. These areas are, arguably and controversially, amongst the very few areas in the world that still have the potential to become models for development, as defined during this session.
One of the aims of this session is to help participants channel idealism through a pragmatic lens and a solution-seeking approach.
Seminar 5: Cybersecurity – Not Your Average Tech Superstar
Michelle Price | Chief Operating Officer at Australian Cyber Security Growth Network Ltd
Digital technologies continue to transform every aspect of modern life. Immense economic, diplomatic and social opportunities are before us as we navigate the virtual, kinetic and yet unimagined impacts of cyberspace. Yet for every opportunity, there are myriad cyber threats posing risks at a pace, scale and reach never experienced before by mankind. Herein lies the role and value of cyber security – to derive maximum benefit from cyberspace, we must secure our identities, intellectual property and other sensitive information; and in doing so, enormous economic activity is being generated. Cyber security is now at the very core of the future success of the global economy. This session will explore the relationship between adversarial use of cyberspace and achieving cyber resilience, why cyber security is much more than technology and how it is instrumental to the health of the global economy.
Seminar 6: Responding to the Refugee Crisis: How to Use What You Know
Alice Brennan | SettleIn CEO – refugee welfare, 2015 winner of Sydney’s Techfugees Hackathon
Part 1: Background
Today there are a total of 65.6 million people forcibly displaced by war and persecution across the globe. However, this single number belies the diversity of the people and of the problems they face. This number includes people of every gender, ability, age, religion and educational level. Of these, 40.3 million are still in their home countries, 14.5 million are in neighbouring countries in the developing world, and 22.5 million have been offered the legal and administrative support to permanently resettle as refugees. The question we are trying to tackle in this seminar is, how can we as individuals figure out how to make the best use of our skills and time to improve the lives of people fleeing conflict?
Part 2: Innovation and idea generation
The aid sector has many strategies that are tried and tested, and humanitarians can draw on these to solve common problems effectively and reliably. Due to the scale of the need, the current pace of technological advancement and our mercurial political climate, innovation and technology have great potential to improve or add to these successful strategies. Part 2 will explore what good innovation looks like, and what tools and resources we need to innovate successfully in a humanitarian context.
Part 3: Alarm bells
Whilst good innovation is the dream, bad innovation is not only a waste of time, in a humanitarian context it can literally be fatal. Part 3 will describe the common mistakes humanitarians make when designing “innovative” projects, and how to avoid them.
Seminar 7: Free and fair: US trade in Asia–Pacific
James Carouso | US Chargé d’Affairs for Australia
Commentary on the future of the United States’ international trade relationships has dominated media discourse over the first half of 2017—a topic of discussion that has particular significance for Asia–Pacific, as home of the world’s three largest economies. In this session, Chargé d’Affaires James Carouso will explore the nature of America’s trade relations with Australia and the broader Asia–Pacific, challenging misconceptions about US participation in the region.
Seminar 8: The Governance of Oil and Gas
Michael McWalter | Vice President, Circum-Pacific Council for Energy and Mineral Resources
Good governance in the upstream petroleum industry may save much wastage by voiding corruption and promoting best practices. Once exploited, petroleum resources yield revenues for the host Government and the recovery of investment and profits for the licenced or contracted oil and gas companies. Coming from a capital asset, the petroleum revenues should be invested in capital formation expenditure for the good of the Nation. The distribution of the Earth’s population, energy demand and location of petroleum basin is disparate necessitating vast transportation and supply networks. Oil has to be found or discovered by probing the sedimentary basins of the world. The ingredients required for success are quality source rocks, migration, reservoir, closure or trap and containment or seal, and all these need to have had the right timing. Because it is risky business, Governments invite oil companies to search for oil accumulations in their territories using the companies’ money. If not successful, the companies lose their money and go home. If successful, the companies may develop their discoveries, but only if they are commercially viable. A development is only commercial when it can recover all the exploration, development and operating costs of the company, pay the Government fiscal requirements and still make a profit for the shareholders. There are different ways by which a Government may take value from the business. Once petroleum revenues are in the hands of the Government, the Government has to decide what it wishes to do with them. Mindful that cash can so readily be wasted on consumption expenditure, we have to ask: will the revenues be used as: cash for development, cash and development, or cash or development? Good petroleum practices involve Government diligence throughout the business through to the receipt and management of revenues.
Seminar 9: Climate Change and Sharing of Rivers
Ashok Swain | UNESCO Chair of International Water Cooperation, Uppsala University
How are Transboundary Rivers to be governed given the increasing demand and widespread perceptions of a Global Climate Change? The overarching issue consists of the three interrelated questions: (i) To what extent are existing regimes in transboundary rivers functional, efficient, and sustainable? Which are the primary structural factors impeding a more efficient and sustainable utilisation of shared waters? (ii) What kind of governance (Agreements? Conventions? Institution-building? Negotiations? Market-based?), and in which combination, provides the most efficient outcome given changing climate and power relations? (iii) How should better practices be advanced in the governance of Transboundary Rivers.
Seminar 10: The Sustainable Development Goals
Aime Saba, Patricia Garcia AO & Dr Jane Fulton
In September 2015, Heads of State and Government agreed to set the world on a path towards sustainable development through the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), built on the MDGs (2000-2015), include 17 SDGs, which set out quantitative objectives across the social, economic, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development, to be achieved by the year 2030.
In this seminar, we will explore some of the complexities around challenges in implementing the SDGs Agenda to tackle some of the pressing challenges facing our world, including Asia. What will it take to meet these Goals, and what roles are being played by the UN and by national governments in various Asian countries? In terms of implementation of Goal 16, we will brainstorm around the links between peace, conflict, and development, a dimension which was missing in the predecessor MDGs. We will also discuss links between SDGs and the philosophy of promoting peace with justice, and proceed with exploring ideas on ways of improving the effectiveness and performance of the UN in promoting outcomes of peace with justice.
Seminar 11: One Leap at a Time: How You Can Capitalize on Open Innovation
Takuya Hane | President and CEO of Active Learning
In Japan, there is a legend called “Straw Millionaire” about a poor farmer who becomes wealthy through a series of successive trades, starting with a single piece of straw. However, the farmer’s luck isn’t just a fortunate stroke of serendipity; he continuously takes one step at a time, slowly nurturing his resources through the power of collaboration, until his many small steps accumulate into something big. In today’s world, open innovation wins the game. Companies can no longer afford to rely entirely on their own resources. The boundaries between a company and its environment have become more permeable, changing the way the consumer, the company, an industry, and society operates. This is good news for you. This means that companies are seeking your talents. How can you create contribution opportunities and be a success story? In this seminar, you will learn what open innovation is and how you can use it to maximize your talents. The wider array of skill sets we can gather, the better.
Seminar 12: Office Politics, how China’s work culture shapes its decision making
James Palmer | Asia Editor at Foreign Policy
From an unwillingness to share information even with supposed colleagues to an obsession with numbers, Chinese workplace life has been deeply shaped by the politics of the Communist Party. But Party infighting, especially on the local level, also more closely resemble office politics than House of Cards. How has the Chinese office been shaped – and shaped in turn – the Party?